Moraletry

Sat 3rd – Sat 24th August 2013

reviews

Samuel Graydon

at 10:16 on 18th Aug 2013

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It is unlikely that you will see anything else like this during the run of the Fringe. It is a comedy, yes, and this is usual enough, certainly, but it is not a straight forward comedy. Not at all. It is a satirical, and truly random, spoken-word poetry duo, who also manage to be pretty comical.

I say satirical because it does a satire upon the performers themselves. I certainly hope that Gary from Leeds and Richard Purnell do not believe, for example, that the two World Wars were the most moral periods of the last century, due to the fervour of the speech-making that went on during those times. Indeed, this unexplained, but assumed, understanding between the performers and the audience, is one of my favourite parts of the show. They presumed to think that their audience had intelligence.

There were many jokes left as they were, unadulterated with explanations, for you to find them funny or not funny as you pleased.

I say this, but perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. Perhaps I should say that this show contains much to laugh at, but only if you possess a certain type of humour already. Its zany and off-beat humour, reminiscent of ‘Monty Python’, was perfect for me, but I realise maybe not for everybody else.

This is particularly so in view of the fact that, on occasion, the jokes did not quite come off. They fell down and simply did not work. This may be due to the somewhat niche audience the show was aimed at, but I feel that sometimes it was simply not funny, be it through the writing or the delivery. Even so, there were clever little pieces in the show, such as the moral battle between famous figures, based upon an analysis of their speeches viewed as poems.

Overall, it was a clever show, with some complete nonsense thrown in for good measure, and whether this always worked or not, I feel if you are a fan of this type of comedy, it would be worth going to see ‘Moraletry’.

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Joshua Adcock

at 10:45 on 18th Aug 2013

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Upon descending into one of Edinburgh’s many caves, we encounter 'Moraletry': a low-key farce of high-minded ideas and inventive wit. The premise involves a new ideological movement, the titular 'Moraletry', striving to bring morality back to the modern world through the medium of poetry. Involving multiple sections in a variety of formats, it could almost be called a multimedia show, but, in reality, those segments which could be called multimedia were in fact parodies of just such an idea. This probably sets the tone for the whole thing.

With good jokes, a deadpan sense of humour, and a lot of silly puns, it was a pleasantly ridiculous hour in the vaults of the city, which included the ‘morali-tree’, poorly-fitting costume shop get-ups, and flash cards - just to make everything a bit easier to digest. Of course, all of these aids were appropriately trashy, cheap, or pointless. Perhaps it’s best to describe the show as having a generally good-natured, down-to-earth humour, which mostly involved taking the piss out of their own ideas, including, at various moments, ridiculing the very ‘movement’ of Moraletry which Richard Purnell and Gary from Leeds have invented. Basically, much of the show’s humour rests on sending-up everything that gets put into the show.

Generally this was a lot of fun, however, the reality is that the performances were a little lacklustre. From both guys we got an impression of stiffness, and even a nervousness. Lacking a vicarious sense that the performers themselves were committed to the show, or were even having a good time, they were missing an easy or assured stage presence. Sadly, they failed to always make the most of the humour that they themselves had managed to dream up, often suffering from a dullness of comic timing.

Though a great deal of effort had obviously gone into it, the stand-alone poetry was a little stilted and slow, without the wit, verve and energy required to make it really come to life and carry the audience onto the next section. It could, in theory, work very well with the rest of the show, but seemed inadequately threaded into the fabric of it to work properly.

Overall, the show was somewhat disjointed, failing to move fluidly from one section to another, with the feeling that it was a little thrown together without much consideration for the shape of the whole piece. Nevertheless it included inventive humour delivered without batting an eyelid, but it felt as though so much more could have been done with the concept.

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